Bodil Bjoernshave Noe, Merete Bjerrum and Sanne Angel
Literature highlights the barriers and problems that individuals who sustain traumatic spinal cord injury (TSCI) meet when they attempt to resume everyday life after hospital rehabilitation. However, what do patients think about before returning home, and what should professionals encourage patients to address while the patient is hospitalized in order to balance the patient’s expectations and to reveal what is of importance to the patient. This qualitative study explores the expectations, wishes and worries patients have before they return home after hospital rehabilitation due to TSCI. Eight Danish residents aged 25-75 years, admitted for initial rehabilitation at the Spinal Cord Injury Center of Western Denmark, participated in an individual interview before returning home. The transcribed interviews were analyzed according to inductive content analysis. Transversal analyses revealed four categories of barriers and problems: “facing uncertainty when leaving the rehabilitation center and peers”, “hoping to get back to work and safe economy”, “needing understanding from the community”, and “relying on resilience of significant others”. These categories were combined into one major theme: “relations”. The findings indicate that there is a need for professionals to address patients´ close relations and to initiate dialog with patients and their families on how SCI may impact close relations in order to promote a good life on new terms.